From Comaiwiki


The role of CENH3 in centromere function

Following a close collaboration with the Chan lab and the demise of Simon Chan in the Summer of 2012, we have assimilated Chan lab researchers working on different aspects of centromeric function and its epigenetic determination. We are investigating the structural features, evolutionary constraints, and mechanisms that determine the interaction of centromeric histone H3 (CENH3) with the centromere and its instability in outcrosses resulting in parent-specific genome elimination. We are investigating the mechanisms of extreme chromosome fragmentation and reassembly that are associated to chromosome elimination.

Mohan Marimuthu

Mohan studies the early molecular events that lead to genome elimination in the zygote and early embryo resulting from crosses between centromere-compromised individuals and wild type.

Shamoni Maheshwari

Shamoni studies the mechanisms behind rapid evolution of CENH3 and centromeric repeats.

Jessica Rodrigues

Jessica Rodrigues (and the folks above) is studying processes that determine the efficiency of genome elimination. This work is part of a multinational project awarded to Anna Kultunow at CSIRO. We collaborate with Andreas Houben (IPK, Germany), Anna Kultunow (CSIRO), and other labs.

Xiaoya Song

Xiaoya Song is working with Jessica Rodrigues in our Capture Heterosis project. She is also working in the Chetelat lab (UCD) with Shamoni to understand the effect of variation in CENH3 within the genus Solanum on genome elimination.


Research aimed at applying the haploid induction system to cassava and banana, funded by BREAD, is continuing in the laboratory of Anne Britt at UCD. The effect of CENH3 variation in the Solanum genus on genome elimination is being studied in collaboration with the laboratory of Roger Chetelat.

Simon Chan


Simon chan 1.png

Simon started the CENH3 project when he joined UCD in 2006. His laboratory achieved a lot in the 6 years that followed. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have been his friends and have worked with Simon. We miss him. Tributes to Simon Chan: Genome Biology, Department of Plant Biology

Publications on CENH3 and haploid induction by the original Chan lab, by the Comai lab and collaborators


  1. Tan EH et al. (2015) Catastrophic chromosomal restructuring during genome elimination in plants. Elife 4: PubMed
  2. Maheshwari S et al. (2015) Naturally occurring differences in CENH3 affect chromosome segregation in zygotic mitosis of hybrids. PLoS Genet 11: e1004970 PubMed
  3. Ravi M et al. (2014) A haploid genetics toolbox for Arabidopsis thaliana. Nat Commun 5: 5334 PubMed
  4. Comai L (2014) Genome elimination: translating basic research into a future tool for plant breeding. PLoS Biol 12: e1001876 PubMed
  5. Melters DP et al. (2013) Comparative analysis of tandem repeats from hundreds of species reveals unique insights into centromere evolution. Genome Biol 14: R10 PubMed
  6. Melters DP et al. (2012) Holocentric chromosomes: convergent evolution, meiotic adaptations, and genomic analysis. Chromosome Res 20: 579-93 PubMed
  7. Chan SW (2011) In a battle between parental chromosomes, a failure to reload. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108: 13361-2 PubMed
  8. Ravi M et al. (2011) Meiosis-specific loading of the centromere-specific histone CENH3 in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS Genet 7: e1002121 PubMed
  9. Marimuthu MP et al. (2011) Synthetic clonal reproduction through seeds. Science 331: 876 PubMed
  10. Chan SW (2010) Chromosome engineering: power tools for plant genetics. Trends Biotechnol 28: 605-10 PubMed
  11. Ravi M et al. (2010) The rapidly evolving centromere-specific histone has stringent functional requirements in Arabidopsis thaliana. Genetics 186: 461-71 PubMed
  12. Ravi M & Chan SW (2010) Haploid plants produced by centromere-mediated genome elimination. Nature 464: 615-8 PubMed


This research is funded by a sub-award from CSIRO for the grant Captured Heterosis from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and by industry. It has been previously funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through Grant GBMF3068 (Chan research).

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